THE wraps came off Karamoko Dembele for thousands of Celtic fans last night when the Celtic Under-18s met their Ibrox counterparts in the SFA Youth Cup Final at Hampden.
A restricted all-ticket audience of 1,500 watched the encounter at the national stadium and all eyes were on the wonderbhoy who recently turned 16.
Most supporters had only witnessed brief clips of the Hoops prospect, but BBC Scotland beamed the entire 90 minutes live when Dembele and the other youngsters took the opportunity to showcase their talents.
The silverware went to Ibrox with their kids winning 3-2 on an entertaining evening and the Hoops colts such as Dembele, Armstrong Oko-Flex and Cameron Harper, among others, showed why the future is bright at Parkhead.
The London-born talent, who is wanted by both Scotland and England, was in the spotlight and, although defeated on this occasion, happier days are ahead for a gifted forward. The Celtic supporters would have noted how confortable he is on the ball and his fondness for running directly at opponents.
Dembele set up the first goal for Harper after delightfully skipping past two challenges and laying on a perfectly-weighted pass for the extremely impressive young American to take a touch before curling in a sublime finish. This will not be the last you have heard the name Cameron Harper, you can be sure of that.
Another aspect of Dembele’s play that would have earned approval from coach Stephen McManus on the touchline and Neil Lennon in the stand was his unselfish attitude. He is not over-elaborate on the ball when there is a colleague in a better position. His touch is almost nonchalant, but the measure of the pass is quite remarkable in one so young.
CQN’s ace lensmen were at the national stadium to put Dembele in the frame. Here is the pick of the pics.
READY TO RUMBLE…Karamoko Dembele prepares for the kick-off.
SKIP, SKIP, HOORAY…Dembele weaves past an opponent.
OUCH…Dembele receives treatment after a fairly heavy challenge.
GO GET ‘EM…Stephen McManus has a word with the teenager as he prepares to come back on the pitch after injury.
BRIGHT-EYED…Dembele looks alert and willing to expose space.
TRUE GRIT…Dembele is challenge by an Ibrox defender.
UP, UP AND AWAY…Dembele rides a frantic challenge.
GROUNDED…Dembele crashes to the turf following a desperate tackle.
ON THE BALL…Dembele is in control as he prepares to take on an opponent.
END GAME…anguish for Dembele at full-time with the young Hoops just losing out.
SHAKE ON IT…Celtic ambassador Tom Boyd attempt to comfort Dembele as he collects his runners-up medal.